Stories about prayers

An open letter to AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia

Respected AJK Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Zia, According to newspaper reports, you have announced that the annual salary increments of those working in your court will be based on “how regularly they offer their prayers”. You also declared that you would lead some of the prayers yourself, ostensibly to observe which of the court’s officers offer prayers and to secretly check whether they are complying with your order or not. Your honour, do you realise that your order violates Islam’s injunction which clearly states that there ‘should be no compulsion in Islam’ (Surah Baqarah, verse 256)? Since those who do not ...

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Why I’m not fasting this Ramazan

According to family legend, I first fasted—for a day—at the age of four. I have no clear memory of this fast, although I do have the vague recollection of walking into the kitchen while my mom prepared iftar and her asking, “If you’re fasting, why are you sucking on a lollipop?” Ramazan in our house was a big deal. Ramazan meant we could—at least for a month—pretend we were adults. I insisted on fasting the entire month starting at the age of seven.  My parents agreed, but with three stipulations: I had to wake up for sehri, eat whatever was served during sehri (generally, ...

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Since when does my fasting or not fasting jeopardise someone else’s imaan?

My grandmother used to call it Ramazan Shareef. There was no discussion, debate or argument over its pronunciation. The month would come in its usual cycle without much fuss or ado. Television channels wouldn’t go bonkers except for some increased airtime for naats and religious discussions that were never heavily advertised. People wouldn’t wear cloaks all across. If someone in the house didn’t fast, others wouldn’t raise their eyebrows. The non-fasting family members would comfortably go on with usual daily meals without being given guilt trips. There were simpler, not-so-extravagant iftar dinners where family members would get together without any pressure on ...

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What would Barbie be like if she were to come to CII’s Pakistan?

Let’s open a can of worms (an interesting exercise if indulged in occasionally) and wonder what it would be like if Barbie (of Ken fame) came to Pakistan as a franchise. Since a non-Muslim woman before being co-opted into a Muslim family must become Muslim and change her name, Barbie, before being launched in Pakistan must do the same. I speak of Pakistan which rejoices in the name ‘The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ as of a family, however dysfunctional, and of Barbie as a sort of Qaum ki bahoo, (the nation’s daughter-in-law) which puts Sania Mirza’s nose out of joint. It’s ...

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Why do Pakistanis block roads, cars and houses, in a rush to attend prayer?

A popular Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim hadith quotes Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as saying that once prayer has started, Muslims are not supposed to rush to join in quickly. Instead, they must proceed to the mosque at a calm and normal pace. If they miss any part of the prayer, they should simply complete whatever they missed, rather than making a mad dash to join the rakkah. The intention of this command, clearly, is to avoid creating hassle for yourself or anyone else. If you live anywhere near a mosque in Karachi, or have travelled to work, school, or even the ...

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16 photos that prove India and Pakistan are just the same

Conflict isn’t the only thing common to India and Pakistan. We are just like neighbours who might quarrel but always have each other’s back. We are like neighbours who may not be too happy with the noisy parties the other throws but who would still like to be a part of each other’s happiness. This article is an attempt to focus on the everyday, the little things which unite us as a people. Forgive me if I come across as stating the obvious. But sometimes, the best of us tend to forget the obvious. And then it’s always good to remember, and to ...

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I was hopeful today…

It was 6am when my alarm went off. I woke up to it, got off my bed, performed wuzu and then offered my prayers. At 6:30am, as usual, I decided to go out for a refreshing morning walk. It seemed like an ordinary morning – just like any other day. Whilst on my walk, my phone beeped informing me that I had received a text message from a friend of mine. The message greeted me “good morning” and read: “If you fail to achieve your dreams, change your ways but not your principles, as trees change their leaves, not their roots.” Instantly, a smile ...

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If I live in Finland, do I have to fast for 23 hours a day?

In the region of the earth above the Arctic Circle called ‘the land of the midnight sun,’ the sun does not rise for several months in winter or set for several months in summer. In Finland, the sun stays above the horizon for seventy days at a stretch. What are Muslims in such regions to do if Ramazan occurs during one of these summer periods? A response to this question on one of the forums online was that “the midnight sun is a myth and that there is no such thing”. The respondent added that the days are very long in these ...

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Don’t worry Pakistani immigrant, the West will not treat you the way you treat your minorities

Migrating to a Western country has many perks. Considering Pakistan’s current situation, it’s quite natural for people to look for opportunities elsewhere, and migrating to a more developed country is usually one of the most sought-after solutions. Those who can avail it, almost always take the opportunity as soon as it presents itself. So, it is disheartening to see some of those very people crying wolf on the smallest of issues and basing it on the religion they belong to or the country they originate from. Here is an instance where I experienced such behaviour first-hand. One fine evening, I bumped into an acquaintance ...

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Tempted to commit adultery? Indonesian governor says ‘Go pray!’

Are you afraid that you will be so attracted to the opposite sex that you will forget your vows to your significant other? Are you afraid that your sexual urges will no longer be in your control and if you’re an employer, you will most definitely sexually harass your employees? If yes, it may be time for you to move to Indonesia. A governor in Indonesia has found a cure for adultery – prayer. Apparently, he has never known an adulterer who prays five times a day. Either that or he feels that the longer he keeps men and women on the prayer mat, ...

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